Editor's Choice: Immortal L.A. by Eric Czuleger

I fell in love with this book quickly and savored every morsel of this mélange of modern mythology set deep in the City of Angels. Each serving has its own charm or urgency or insight that melds into a fascinating and original reading experience.

As usual, I’m not going to spill the pot. But here are a few snippets from early readers of this vibrant offering:

“...If you love fantasy mixed with social satire this is a must read!...”
“...a collection of linked stories chocked full of absorbing characters and compelling prose....”
“...It's a playful, imaginative, and compelling novel that mixes fantasy with history and a deep love of L.A....”
“...Incredibly diverse and intriguing characters make the book kick all kinds of ass in all sorts of different directions....”
“...Urban Fantasy and Magical Realism are elevated to new levels with Immortal LA....”

And Eric has agreed to pop over and address some of my random hypothetical questions, which follow after his bio:

Eric Czuleger is from Los Angeles. He got a degree in acting from Cal State Fullerton. He came back to Los Angeles to be a founding member and resident playwright of Coeurage Theatre Company. He left Los Angeles again to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Northern Albania. While overseas he wrote ten installments of “Live Theatre Blog” a monthly play about Albanian life that was performed in Hollywood and live streamed around the world. His other plays include, Falling Dreams, Moonburn, Craigslist: Last Posts/Last Days, Head Over Heels, L.A. Lights Fire, and No. Saints Lane.

Immortal L.A. is his first novel. Eric is currently working on his second novel Farnoosh as well as Our Crowded Skies: a live theatre documentary about UFO culture in America.

Thanks for coming over Eric – my first hypothetical question is this: during an episode of low self esteem Satan has succumbed to advice from his Motivational Life Coach and agreed to marry a Reiki master who supplements her art with crystals and aromatherapy. Rumor has it she doesn’t prune her pits. You are in charge of Satan’s bachelor party and so it’s up to you to make his latter hours as fulsome as possible. Where will you take him? Will you try to counsel him and his predicament? What pranks do you have in store once you’ve gotten him sufficiently intoxicated?

I’m glad you asked. Satan has become a good friend of mine in recent years. He’s not without his foibles, but who is? We would go to the bar at the Standard Hotel. Not the public bar, the secret bar under the pool where all cellphones are confiscated at the door by an albino bouncer. Satan can get us in, he knows the password. He knows every password.
We would line up shots with Kanye West and Jeff Goldblum (they’re good friends, it’s well known in Hollywood). After getting a solid buzz on we would retire into the lower bowels of the bar and watch underground cage fighting, cheering along noisily as the lower classes pummel each other for our amusement. When one of the cage fighters has beaten the other into a leaking sack of bone shards and saliva, we’ll give Satan the final say in whether the final blow is delivered or not. He’ll give a thumbs down and retire to purchase some nachos from the concession stand.
While he’s gone, we’ll rufie his drink, and leave him naked in the middle of East L.A.

Quite by accident, you shoot dead two religious callers on your doorstep. The AK-47 you used is not registered and so things are a bit tricky admin-wise. But then again, it’s not as though you can actually *kill most of these callers, given the eternal life policy they have built in, so that just leaves their old shells to dispose of. How would you deal with the aftermath?

I’m an American. They were on my property. They came right at me with knives and opinions. That’s what I saw any way. I don’t know what you saw. I’ll call the authorities and pay the registration for the gun. They’ll gladly drag the corpses off for me – they seem to love collecting them.

A post on your Facebook page goes viral because of the implications of an unfortunate typo. It has inflamed and divided world leaders to the point that global nuclear war is imminent. The real estate market has shifted to providing bunkers and have offered you a courtesy bunker in recognition of your contribution to market recovery in their field. You only have a few liters of luggage allowance so what are you going to pack in your “cabin trunk” to see you through the Apocalypse?

I’ll take and setup a radio broadcasting rig. I’ll lecture twenty-four hours a day about the Tribulation and become a self-stylized prophet/cult leader. The survivors will flock to me to pay tribute. All those that refuse to tithe will be crushed by my faithful legions.

It’s 15 years later and the survivors have just returned to the surface and are in the process of forming a government. Anyone with an iPad can run for mayor. What inducements and benefits would *you offer the masses to get them to vote for you?

I think I would bow out of this particular scenario. I would never want to be democratically elected. There is too much political red-tape and party pleasing to be done. For me it’s ruling a fiefdom of theocratic zealots with an iron fist or nothing.

Yes…that makes sense; after all you have total mind control of the masses – so we’ll assume you win the election for mayor without even having registered. In fact you rule the whole northern hemisphere (plus you’re looking to expand).

Anyway, moving on… Your old buddy Satan has laid claim to your couch after matrimony morphed into acrimony. See, Eric, if you had talked him out of getting married in question #one while you were at the bachelor party you wouldn’t have this issue to deal with – there’s a lesson in there somewhere – but the question is, how to broach the ugly subject of his incongruous presence, now that you’re the supreme leader of the northern hemisphere.

As supreme leader? Honestly, I would deal with Satan in the same way that I deal with all personal problems. I would avoid the topic entirely, until pleasantries were replaced by long cannibalizing silences. We would talk less and less as the elephant in the room stamped its feet and trumpeted in disapproval. Eventually Satan and I would grow farther and farther apart – until we would avoid each other if we crossed paths while shopping at Trader Joes.
Years later we may message each other on whichever social media apparatus has come into vogue.
“What happened to us… all those years ago?” Satan would ask.
“I don’t know. I was being immature. I thought that since I had formed a religious dictatorship and a cult of personality that I didn’t have to deal with my problems any more.”
“You just kind of disappeared.”
“I know. But I’m here now. Do you want to get a cup of coffee and catch up?” I would ask. Satan would send a smiley emoticon.
“I would like that. I would like that a lot,” he would say.
I would push back from my computer and remember the good old days of watching cage matches with Satan and taking shots with Kanye and Jeff Goldblum. Then I would make two of my acolytes fight to the death for my amusement.

~ ~ ~

Thanks for taking part Eric! Readers: Click HERE to preview and purchase the outstanding novel, Immortal L.A. at Amazon – Stef wouldn’t steer you wrong…

Thank you for reading this article.

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  1. Why do I feel I just attended a fantastic cocktail party where my drink was laced with something? Best interview (questions & answers) I have read in a long time. Thoroughly amused. Must think on it to see if there is actually something of intellectual value here. Should keep me occupied for hours upon hours. Love the interview, love the book!

  2. Thanks! Glad it was as fun to read as take part in.

    The intellectual takeaway from this is that, when in charge of a bachelor party you should always make it clear to the prospective groom that A). He still has time to run - and B). Once he's made his bed he can't seek the sanctuary of your couch if it turns out he's bought a pup...

  3. I would vote for you... wait, strike that since you're not running... um, I mean, I would blindly follow you in your self-styled post-apocalyptic paradise! Great interview! Great book!